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Second Place Winner


Patricia Longthorp

“Don’t forget, take your pillow along with you in a bin liner,” instructed our Travel Agents.

I was very nervous of flying so our family was travelling to Spain on coach.

So one chilly English dawn huddles of intrepid travellers, complete with pillows, were gathered in our town centre, awaiting our coach to paradise. The coach arrived, and the holiday began. The driver was hoping we could make the eleven o’clock ferry, but it all depended on the traffic conditions.

Tension began to mount on the coach. Would we reach Dover in time to catch the eleven o’clock ferry? When should I dish out the seasickness tablets? As we seemed to be making good time, at 10.30 I dosed all of us except the two youngest. To our relief, we made the ferry.

We planned to have a good meal on the ferry, so my nephew Jack got a place in the self- service queue while we found tables. However, the pills were beginning to take effect and we all became semi comatose, except of course, the two little ones. Meanwhile, the English Channel was calmer than a mill- pond!

Jack had to lean against the wall and as the queue moved, he slid along the wall to keep up We ate in a trance like state, and before long, our two older girls and Jack had their heads on the table and snored gently for the rest of the journey. My husband and I felt as drugged as the others, but our two little ones were running around and wanting to go to the decks outside. We argued in slurred tones.

“You’ll have to look after them.”

“I can’t, too sleepy.”

“You gave us the stupid pills, so you go after them.”

Thankfully, before our little daughters had chance to jump overboard, we all had to stagger back to the coach.

Well, we had made it to France, even if we were semi conscious.

The rest of the journey to Tossa del Mar via France was a series of occasional highs (scenery) and many lows. My biggest problem was that our two year old and I never felt sleepy at the same time. She slept for hours on my lap when I was wide awake, but when I wanted to sleep, she wanted to play.

Night eventually came, pillows were unwrapped, and we settled down to sleep as our coach trundled through France. Did we sleep? In an uncomfortable, weird dream, fits and starts, what am I doing here sort of way! We awoke to stale food and not much left to drink. Everyone was parched and I passed around our last luke warm orange squash with strict instructions, “two mouthfuls only”.

Eventually, we reached our destination, Tossa del Mar in Spain. We were not quite the happy, enthusiastic bunch that started out. However, we had two whole weeks in the sun to recover and get ready for the homeward journey.

I think have conquered my fear of flying!

Published inWriting